Does California High-Speed Rail Promote Accessibility for Station Cities? Case study of Fresno and Merced

The California Central Valley cities of Fresno and Merced are likely to experience increased travel activity once the California High-Speed Rail (CHSR) project is operational according to the simulated results of using a gravity model (Wang et al., 2017). This is a result at the regional level regarding the effect of CHSR on station cities. The CHSR would also change the accessibility of a station city because residents in a station city can access more jobs and services in other station cities along the CHSR corridor. Therefore, it is extremely important to calculate accessibility with the consideration of the CHSR (i.e., daily living sphere) and identify winners and losers through the “before and after” comparison. Some areas in a station city would have better job and service accessibility and some will not. These results will provide transportation planners with information to evaluate improved connections to the local transportation network (e.g., transit, bike sharing) to improve accessibility and reduce inequality. Such a research framework is needed for station cities to promote overall accessibility and equal development.

Principal Investigator: 
Chih-Hao Wang
PI Contact Information:

California State University, Fresno

April 2023 to March 2024
Implementation of Research Outcomes: 

The cumulative-opportunity approach, a location-based accessibility measure, has been widely used in accessibility studies (Castiglione et al., 2006; Martens and Golub, 2011). In this proposed study, it is used to compute job and service accessibility through multi-transportation modes for each of the census block groups (BG) in Fresno and Merced, accounting for the number of opportunities that a resident in a given BG can reach by a combination of cycling, transit, car, and CHSR. For instance, job accessibility can be computed by counting the number of jobs in Fresno and Merced one can reach by taking any combination of cycling, transit, driving, and CHSR within a one-hour commuting time, using the Network Analyst package in ArcGIS.

Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

The approach of computing job and service accessibilities can be applied to any other cities in the Central Valley, which can help urban and transportation planners assess the efficiency of transportation investments and address social inequality issues. The “before and after” accessibility comparison will reveal where are the winners of the CHSR and where are not. With these results, planners will be able to determine better strategies for improved connectivity between the local transportation network and CHSR and address inequalities.

Project Number: 



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